Patel Slams Eco-Warriors for Exacerbating Fuel Shortages — and Labour for Backing Them

© REUTERS / ANDREW BOYERS / Just Stop Oil activists protest at the Esso Birmingham fuel terminal, in BirminghamJust Stop Oil activists protest at the Esso Birmingham fuel terminal, in Birmingham
Just Stop Oil activists protest at the Esso Birmingham fuel terminal, in Birmingham - Sputnik International, 1920, 11.04.2022
Ecological activists from the Extinction Rebellion campaign and its spin-offs have taken advantage of the fuel crisis — sparked by sanctions on Russia over the conflict in Ukraine — to maximise their disruption of fuel supplies across Britain.
Britain's home secretary has condemned green activists blockading fuel terminals and depots as petrol pump prices soar amid war sanctions on Russia.
And Priti Patel also laid into opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer — a former director of public prosecutions — for failing to back new legislation to crack down on disruptive protests by Extinction Rebellion and its new offshoot Just Stop Oil.
"Hard-working people across our country are seeing their lives brought to a standstill by selfish, fanatical and frankly dangerous so-called activists," Patel said on Sunday.
That was after protesters dug a tunnel under a roadway used by tankers at Kingsbury oil terminal in Warwickshire on Sunday, to render it unusable.
Some 40 more environmentalists 'locked on' to gates at the Buncefield terminal in Hertfordshire, while others tried to blockade the Exolum storage terminal in Grays, Essex.
And in a repeat of last year's unpopular 'Insulate Britain' road block protests, hundreds of green activists blocked the busy Lambeth and Vauxhall bridges across the river Thames in London.
Patel also accused Labour of trying to deny police the authority to act by voting against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill currently going through Parliament.
"Keir Starmer's Labour Party repeatedly voted against our proposals that would have given the police extra powers to deal with this eco mob," she charged.
Patel said the police "have my full backing in doing everything necessary to address this public nuisance."
A recent poll found a third of motorists in the Midlands and South East reported experiencing shortages at petrol stations amid the new fuel crisis.
Just Stop Oil activists take part in a protest outside the Esso Birmingham fuel terminal, in Birmingham, Britain April 1, 2022.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 02.04.2022
Activists Allegedly Dig Tunnels to Halt Oil Shipments From Terminals in UK
Essex Police, which has made 338 arrests since the demonstrations at fuel depots began on April 1, said they were becoming "exceptionally dangerous" and put both protesters and officers at "unacceptable" risk.
"We cannot stand by while criminal acts are being committed, and lives are being put at risk, in the name of protest," said Assistant Chief Constable Glen Pavelin.
"While we will always recognise and respect the public's right to peaceful protest, we will take action against anyone who breaks the law or causes significant impact on the local community," said Warwickshire Assistant Chief Constable Ben Smith, whose force had arrested 180 protesters so far.
A UK Petroleum Industry Association spokesman said the industry was "working hard to ensure fuels are being delivered as quickly as possible."
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